2013 NBA Mock Draft: The Book on Next Year's Top 30 Prospects

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterDecember 24, 2012

2013 NBA Mock Draft: The Book on Next Year's Top 30 Prospects

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    With the college basketball season heating up, it's easier to get a fix on what prospects will likely go where in next summer's NBA draft.

    The NBA teams are beginning to fall into position, as the contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the Lakers—err, pretenders.

    Here is a breakdown of the top 30 players and where they'll likely end up next summer, highlighting each prospect's strengths and weaknesses.

1. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel

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    Position: Center

    Height/Weight:  6'11"

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Noel could be one of the NBA's best post defenders the minute he steps on the court.

    Standing nearly seven feet tall with a 7'4" wingspan, Noel is swatting away nearly four shots per game this season.

    While he's still quite raw offensively, Noel has the athletic ability and work ethic to turn himself into a great all-around player. At just 18 years of age, he could turn out to be the franchise center that many NBA teams need.

2. New Orleans Hornets: Shabazz Muhammad

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    Position: Shooting guard

    Height:  6'6"

    School: UCLA

    Year: Freshman

    Muhammad is a strong, physical player who excels at getting to the hoop.

    A high-motor player with a smooth left-handed finish, Muhammad is averaging 18.8 points and 5.0 rebounds a game for UCLA, showing all the potential he demonstrated coming out of high school.

    Also a talented defender, Muhammad has the ability to defend multiple positions but will likely end up being a shooting guard or slightly undersized small forward in the NBA.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cody Zeller

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    Position: Power forward/center

    Height/Weight: 6'11"

    School: Indiana

    Year: Sophomore

    Very skilled for a player of his size, Cody Zeller is an excellent shooter who can run the floor well, much like his older brother Tyler.

    He will most likely play power forward in the NBA, but he will be able to stretch defenses with great outside shooting.

    Though he's not a great rebounder or shot-blocker, he will be nearly impossible to guard.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Alex Len

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    Position: Center

    Height: 7'1"

    School: Maryland

    Year: Sophomore

    Len's draft stock soared after his early-season game against Kentucky when he had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

    An impressive 7'1" with a thin frame, Len needs to add muscle to make it through a grueling NBA season. His size right now makes him a potential top-five pick.

    Len is already a good rebounder and shot-blocker who could start for a handful of NBA teams right away.

5. Detroit Pistons: Alex Poythress

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height/Weight: 6'8"

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman 

    A combo forward, Poythress was the 2012 Tennessee Player of the Year for Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tenn. 

    Able to play inside and out, Poythress is best suited for a small forward role, as he has three-point range and is an excellent finisher at the rim.

    With a 7'1" wingspan, he remains an intriguing option on the defensive end and should be one-and-done at Kentucky.

6. Oklahoma City Thunder: Rudy Gobert (Via Houston, Through Toronto)

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    Position: Power forward/center

    Height/Weight: 6'11"

    Pro Team: Cholet, France

    Age: 20 

    What stands out right away with Gobert is his insane wingspan—all 7'9" of it.

    Naturally, he's already a talented shot-blocker due to his crazy length, but Gobert is also a good athlete who's slowly developing a nice offensive game.

    The Thunder have enough talent that they can afford to roll the dice with this pick, and Gobert may have the most upside of anybody still left on the board.

7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams

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    Position: Point guard/shooting guard

    Height/Weight: 6'5"

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    Leading the NCAA in assists with 10.3 a game, Carter-Williams would provide whatever NBA team takes him with a great ball-handler and distributor.

    A good-sized guard with three-point range, he has also excelled on offense, leading Syracuse to a hot start.

    Carter-Williams needs to continue to work on his defense and add muscle to his frame to excel at the next level, but for now, the sophomore is skyrocketing up draft boards.

8. Phoenix Suns: Archie Goodwin

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    Position: Shooting guard

    Height: 6'5"

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Goodwin is an attack-first shooting guard who plays with an aggressive style.

    Already a good height for his position, Goodwin has a 6'10" wingspan that gives him a ton of defensive potential. He has good body control and has shown the ability to knock down three-pointers when called upon.

    With his size and skill, Goodwin will likely be yet another one-and-done Kentucky freshman.

9. Dallas Mavericks: Isaiah Austin

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    Position: Center

    Height/Weight: 7'0"

    School: Baylor

    Year: Freshman

    Austin is the latest gem in a recent recruiting surge by the Baylor Bears.

    A true seven-footer, Austin is a bit of a project right now, but he has good ball-handling skills and a soft touch for a player his size.

    Austin will have to add about 20 to 30 pounds of muscle to his frame to not get pushed around in the pros, but his skill set would have been worth a lottery pick in this year's draft.

10. Orlando Magic: Otto Porter

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    Position: Small forward

    Height/Weight: 6'8"

    School: Georgetown

    Year: Sophomore

    A good mid-range shooter who plays a very fluid game, Porter has a good work ethic and size for his position.

    Porter needs to work on his outside shooting and ball-handling skills before he can be an effective pro.

    Whatever team drafts him could find themselves with the next Michael Kidd-Gilchrist due to his defense and overall well-rounded game.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben McLemore

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Height: 6'5", 195 pounds

    School: Kansas

    Year: Freshman

     

    McLemore has been one of the most impressive freshman of the season, averaging 16.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his first 11 games.

    Athleticism is the first thing that stands out when watching McLemore, as he can finish a dunk as well as anybody his size.

    Also a good three-point shooter with a prototypical shooting guard body, McLemore could very well help lead Kansas back to the Final Four.

12. Los Angeles Lakers: B.J. Young

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    Position: Point guard/shooting guard

    Height: 6'3"

    School: Arkansas

    Year: Sophomore

    A very quick guard who led Arkansas in scoring last season, Young is excellent at finishing at the rim and shooting from the outside.

    Young has the body of a point guard but the game of a shooting guard. He will have to decide what he wants to be and work toward it before declaring.

13. Boston Celtics: Steven Adams

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    Position: Center

    Height: 7'1"

    School: Pittsburgh

    Year: Freshman

    Adams is an athletic big man who can run the floor with ease. A good shot-blocker and rebounder, he is still developing his overall game.

    Adams needs to work on his free-throw shooting and post moves, but he should be a very good center after a few years in the NBA.

    His size is already there, and despite a somewhat disappointing freshman season, he is too talented to fall out of the first round should he declare.

14. Portland Trail Blazers: James Michael McAdoo

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height: 6'9"

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore 

    Able to play either forward position with a 7'1" wingspan, McAdoo is also a good ball-handler and rebounder for his size.

    McAdoo has responded well to a larger role this season, averaging 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

    His athleticism and versatility would be a welcome addition to any NBA team.

15. Utah Jazz: Marcus Smart

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    Position: Shooting guard

    Height/Weight: 6'4"

    School: Oklahoma State

    Year: Freshman 

    Just a freshman, Smart has impressed scouts with his intelligence and overall game.

    A talented scorer, passer and rebounder, Smart has been compared to a young James Harden with his ability to excel in all three areas.

    While he's shown the ability to score from all areas of the floor, his shot selection has been suspect at times, leading to a lower percentage than he or the Cowboys would like.

16. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum

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    Position: Point guard/shooting guard

    Height/Weight: 6'3"

    School: Lehigh

    Year: Senior

    A combo guard from a small school (a la Damian Lillard), McCollum is a great scorer and rebounder for his size.

    Currently lighting up the scoreboard at nearly 25 points per game, McCollum's best work has come from beyond the three-point line, where he's shooting 51.9 percent.

    A talented defender as well, McCollum averaged 2.6 steals during his junior season.

17. Denver Nuggets: Anthony Bennett

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height: 6'7"

    School: UNLV

    Year: Freshman

    Bennett has already established himself as a first-round pick and should only continue to rise up draft boards before June.

    A big forward who can score from inside and out, Bennett has been the best freshman in the NCAA this season.

    Putting up averages of 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, Bennett may even wind up in contention for Player of the Year.

18. Milwaukee Bucks: Le'Bryan Nash

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    Position: Small forward

    Height: 6'7"

    School: Oklahoma State

    Year: Sophomore

    A very athletic forward with good size and strength, Nash excels taking the ball to basket.

    Outside shooting remains an issue, as does his passing in most games.

    For the season, Nash is averaging 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. proving once again to be a dynamic scorer when he puts the ball on the floor.

19. Houston Rockets: Tony Mitchell

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height/Weight: 6'8"

    School: North Texas

    Year: Sophomore

    Greg Monroe's twin? Well, not exactly, but Mitchell could turn out to be just as talented.

    Able to play either forward position with shooting abilities out to the three-point line, Mitchell has a variety of skills but was forced to sit out his freshman season for academic reasons.

    So far this season, Mitchell is averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 rebound and 2.6 blocked shots a game for the Mean Green.

20. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee

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    Position: Power forward

    Height: 6'10"

    School: Duke

    Year: Senior

    An athletic big man who does almost everything well but nothing great, Plumlee is the type of player who will be a solid backup big man who can step in at either power forward or center.

    A solid rebounder and shot-blocker, Plumlee must continue to build on his strong senior year and improve his low (69.7) free-throw percentage.

21. Indiana Pacers: Andre Roberson

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    Position: Power forward

    Height: 6'7"

    School: Colorado

    Year: Junior

    Roberson averaged more than a double-double his sophomore year and is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker. With current averages of 11.9 points and rebounds per game, such consistency only raises his stock.

    He needs to add muscle to his frame to play in the post in the NBA, and he is still working on his shot, but he represents a lot of upside.

22. Chicago Bulls: C.J. Leslie

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height: 6'9"

    School: N.C. State

    Year: Junior

    An explosive athlete who brings energy to every game, Leslie runs the floor well and is a candidate to finish many alley-oops.

    He's improved his field-goal and free-throw percentages each season and is enjoying his best season for the Wolfpack.

    While it's getting better, Leslie needs to improve his post game if he wants to play power forward in the NBA.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Deshaun Thomas

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    Position: Small forward/power forward

    Height: 6'7"

    School: Ohio State

    Year: Junior

    Thomas, a volume scorer who can rack up points in a variety of ways, can play either forward position but will likely be a small forward at the next level.

    He shot nearly 60 percent on two-pointers last season and has gotten even more looks with the loss of Jared Sullinger to the NBA.

    As a junior, Thomas has taken his game to the next level, averaging 20 points and nearly seven rebounds a game.

24. Utah Jazz: Trey Burke (via Golden State Warriors)

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    Position: Point guard

    Height/Weight: 5'11"

    School: Michigan

    Year: Sophomore

    Burke enjoyed a nice freshman season for the Wolverines, averaging nearly 15 points and five assists per game.

    He's a good athlete who can create shots for himself and others. Plus, he has shown a nice overall improvement in his game from Year 1 to Year 2.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Withey

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    Position: Center

    Height: 6'11"

    School: Kansas

    Year: Senior

    Withey made a name for himself in the 2012 NCAA tournament, helping Kansas advance to the national title game.

    The excellent shot-blocker is still a project on offense, but he has a lot to offer as a developmental center.

    Withey may never be an All-Star at the next level, but he could prove to be a solid starter down the road.

26. San Antonio Spurs: Myck Kabongo

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    Position: Point guard

    Height: 6'1"

    School: Texas

    Year: Sophomore 

    Kabongo is a pure point guard with great playmaking skills. His small frame gives him extra quickness, but some added muscle would be a plus.

    It might take a few years, but Kabongo should be a very good point guard in the NBA.

    While he's serving a 23-game suspension due to accepting improper benefits, Kabongo's skills are still worthy of a first-round pick.

27. New York Knicks: Reggie Bullock

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    Position: Small forward

    Height: 6'5"

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Junior

    Bullock is already a good defender with a great work ethic, something any team would like to have.

    He has a shooting guard's body, but he must improve his ball-handling to play shooting guard in the NBA.

28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyle Anderson (Via Miami Heat)

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    Position: Small forward

    Height: 6'8"

    School: UCLA

    Year: Freshman 

    Anderson has the skills to play four or even all five positions, but he projects as a small forward in the pros. 

    He has a very high basketball I.Q. and can help a team in a variety of ways. Once thought to be a top-10 pick, Anderson has struggled at times this season but still brings a lot to the table if put in the right system.

29. Los Angeles Clippers: Patric Young

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    Position: Power forward/center

    Height: 6'9"

    School: Florida

    Year: Junior

    A strong post presence with a 7'1" wingspan, Young is already a very good defender and shot-blocker.

    NBA teams that need a defensive enforcer in the middle should take a look at Young, who's had a very successful career at Florida thus far.

    Height could be a concern going forward, as Young is widely believed to be an inch or two below his actual listed height.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tim Hardaway Jr.

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    Position: Shooting guard

    Height/Weight: 6'5"

    School: Michigan

    Year: Junior

    Hardaway Jr. is a good scorer and athlete who comes from very good basketball genes.

    Along with Trey Burke in a talented Michigan backcourt, Hardaway is helping lead the Wolverines to their best season in years behind his 15.8 points per game.

    At 6'5" he's got great size for a shooting guard and will likely turn pro after this season.